I’ve read in a number of places that negative body image is a growing problem among men. More and more, men are feeling the push to have less fat, more muscle, smooth skin, etc. etc.
In other words, we’ve got Negative Body Image – Now Conveniently Packaged For Men!
I’ve noticed two recent ad campaigns that really play up these body image fears.
First, there’s this truly insane Just For Men ad. In it, a typically handsome dude with salt and pepper hair hears a knock on the door and sees that it’s his typically attractive blonde neighbor wanting to borrow milk. Looking in his fridge to find that he has no milk (only a Chinese food container and a beer – because he’s a dude like you, dude watching this dude!) he jumps off the balcony of his apartment onto a moving truck so he can go to the grocery store and buy milk. Only, he is waylayed by the (huge!) Just For Men aisle. In the kind of split-second decision making that dudes are known for, he decided to buy some Just For Men to go with his milk.
He somehow gets back to his apartment, uses the Just For Men, and with hair almost imperceptibly less gray than before, he opens the door. The typically attractive woman (who must have been standing there for at least 20 minutes) just bites her lip seductively as he asks, “Anything else?”
In typical dude-commercial fashion, this guy is heroic – he leaps from high places onto moving vehicles to get milk for a damsel in distress! – but he is concerned that said damsel will not find him attractive due to his somewhat gray hair. Though, any woman that’s willing to wait outside a guy’s door while he goes to the grocery store, comes home, and colors his hair was probably digging the guy from the beginning. Uh-duh, right?
But it doesn’t matter that he’s an attractive dude who has ladies waiting outside his door for ages – he has gray hair for God’s sake and cannot be seen until he fixes that mar upon his person!
In this commercial, we see an array of dudes who found out that Weight Watchers “clicked” for them when they realized they could do it online instead of going to those namby-pamby meetings where people talk about their feelings and all that crap. As one gentleman says, Weight Watchers is not “all rainbows and lollipops.” Yeah, chick stuff. Indeed, sir.
Weight Watchers for men has stuff that dudes NEED, like beer cheat sheets that tell you the points for different beers. (Women don’t need that, they only drink drinks with umbrellas, apparently.) There’s also grilling cheat sheets because, you know, MAN LIKE FIRE. FEEL LIKE MAN.
I get it, Weight Watchers. You did some market research and found out that guys like beer and meat and hate meetings, lollipops, and rainbows (except for that fat Double Rainbow guy who doesn’t own a computer and therefore won’t be signing up for Weight Watchers Online). Guys need to know that they can be obsessive about weight and calories and points in the privacy of their own homes. And even if some female Weight Watchers members find your new ad campaign offensive and stereotypical, who cares, right? They’re going to keep coming back, because those ubiquitous Jennifer Hudson commercials will tell them that it works.
So what do you think of these commercials? Feel free to share any links to commercials that are meant to break down body image.
Golda Poretsky, H.H.C., is a certified holistic health counselor who specializes in transforming your relationship with food and your body. Go to http://www.bodylovewellness.com/stay-in-touch/ to get your free download, Golda’s Top Ten Tips For Divine Dining.